What exactly federal agents were looking for when they executed sealed search warrants at the Taneytown Police Department and multiple locations in Fairfield, Pennsylvania, earlier this week likely won’t be known until the documents are unsealed.
Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore, said Friday no additional information would be released about the search until the warrants were unsealed, adding that any person involved is innocent until they are convicted in court. There is no timeframe or guarantee the case will be unsealed, she said.
Whether charges are filed in such federal cases depends on what investigators discover in the searches, Murphy explained.
Dave Fitz, a public affairs official with the FBI’s Baltimore field office, on Thursday confirmed that the agency on Tuesday stopped by the police department and locations in Fairfield for “court authorized law enforcement activity.”
An official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who declined to identify him or herself, confirmed Friday that the ATF “was there” when the warrants were served on Tuesday.
The ATF is a federal law enforcement agency that conducts investigations of criminal violations related to the illegal use and storage of explosives, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, arson and bombings, and illegal tobacco and alcohol diversion.
The city of Taneytown has placed its chief of police, William Tyler, and another officer on administrative leave after federal law enforcement agents executed a sealed search warrant at the Taneytown Police Department on Tuesday.
The ATF official deferred any other comment to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore.
By Thursday, the city had placed its police chief, William Tyler, and another officer, who the city declined to identify, on administrative leave.
The Gettysburg Times on Wednesday reported FBI activity on Mile Trail in Fairfield, in the area where Barbara Jane Jestes, the wife of Taneytown Police Sgt. Brian Jestes, runs a day care out of her home.
Fairfield is located in Adams County, Pennsylvania. On Friday, the Adams County Tax Services Department confirmed to the Carroll County Times that Brian Jestes owns a property on Mile Trail in Fairfield. The agency also confirmed that Tyler owns a residence on Sydnor Trail in Fairfield.
Neither federal agency identified the addresses searched in Fairfield. A roster of the Taneytown Police Department officers and their home addresses obtained from the city via a Public Information Act request showed Tyler and Jestes are the only members of the police department that live in Fairfield.
Taneytown officials would not confirm whether Jestes was the officer placed on administrative leave.
Jim Wieprecht, acting Taneytown city manager, told the Carroll County Times on Friday that the police department will continue to function “business as usual,” with the second-in-command, Lt. Jason Etzler, serving as interim chief.